What was/is baby’s approximate optimal waketime length for ages 3-4 Months? (waketime length includes feeding time)?

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50-60 minutes: 14 votes (8%)
60-70 minutes: 45 votes (28%)
70-80 minutes: 32 votes (20%)
80-90 minutes: 39 votes (24%)
90-100 minutes: 20 votes (12%)
1 hour 45 minutes or longer: 7 votes (4%)

Total of 157 votes

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Nicole Flowers
    July 23, 2008 / 4:03 AM

    How early does BabyWise recommend letting the baby cry it out? I have a 2.5 week old and just let him cry it out for about 15 minutes (on and off). I worry its too soon to begin this.. maybe I’m asking too much of my little man? 2nd question: is there a recommendation on an optimal age to switch from overnight sleep in a bassinet in our room to his crib in his nursery?

  2. Emily
    July 23, 2008 / 9:22 PM

    My daughter is 6 months now and I can tell she’s ready for longer awake time. I’m trying to figure out how long now. Lately she’ll lay in her crib and make a grunting noise before she falls asleep. How long is it okay for a baby to take to fall asleep? For example, if she does this for 10minutes am I laying her down too early?… What about 15minutes?

  3. Plowmanators
    July 24, 2008 / 4:26 AM

    Nicole, You start from about 1 week. I started Kaitlyn at 5 days old. He isn’t too young, and I actually found it much easier to do from birth rather than teach her one thing then switch it up and teach something else. 2. The earlier the better. I have read that by 3 months your child should be sleeping where you want him to sleep at 1 year old, so you would want crib sleeping to be his normal thing by 3 months for sure. Some never have baby sleep in their room, so do it for a while. We did 2 weeks.

  4. Plowmanators
    July 24, 2008 / 4:28 AM

    I think 10 to 15 minutes should be okay so long as the nap is okay. If the nap is too short, then she is playing too long before the nap and then overly tired. So, if you think she needs a longer waketime, I would lengthen by 5 minutes and work up until you find the right time. Good luck!

  5. Val
    July 24, 2008 / 6:30 PM

    We’re starting today (week 5)…we didn’t want to start until we noticed manipulation (crying and then when you pick them up they instantly calm). Before then, when they would cry and we would pick them up, the crying didn’t stop…. Our twins started manipulating this week so we’re going to start letting them cry it out. It’s hard, but I know its for their own good.

  6. Nicole Flowers
    July 24, 2008 / 8:51 PM

    Thank you for your advice! Another Question: How long is the longest you’d let your baby cry it out at 3 weeks old? I feel like last night he would have gone for 30 minutes or longer if I let him. Any advice on when to go in and pick up to sooth, if at all? I tried rubbing his stomach w/o picking up but it didn’t work. He is VERY oral and binkies help but then the binkie falls out constantly so I don’t want him to use that for self soothing… but it’s so tempting when he I know it will stop him from crying. Also, I know it sounds crazy but could my baby already be manipulating at 3 weeks? He stops crying when we hold him in the middle of the night. Last night was a bad night and so he ended up in bed with us. I want to stop the cycle now before it gets worse but most people I talk to say it’s entirely too early for him to be manipulating. Help!

  7. Plowmanators
    July 25, 2008 / 8:16 PM

    Thanks Val, that is for their own good in the end 🙂

  8. Plowmanators
    July 25, 2008 / 8:22 PM

    Nicole,You are going to have to gauge that on your child. Just make sure you don’t interfere too much and too soon. Be sure you really figure out what is best for him and not for you. At first I would interfere too often with Kaitlyn. My husband finally put his foot down one night and told me she was going to cry until she fell asleep. We stuck it out and she fell asleep, and that was really a turning point toward major improvement. Kaitlyn wasn’t ever bad, but she had her hard naps. It is trial and error and you have to try to figure out what is best for him in the end.See this post to make your decision about pacifiers:Pacifiers : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/04/pacifiers.htmlI personally don’t think a baby that young is capable of manipulation. That is something BW parents often say about their babies that I just don’t think is possible. It isn’t so much manipulation as it is your baby figuring you out. He is getting to realize how to get what he wants from you based on your actions, but he isn’t doing it in a vindictive way. Manipulation has such a negative connotation with it. See this post for more of my manipulation thoughts:Combating Babywise Myths #6: BW parents call their kids words like “manipulative”: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combating-babwise-myths-6-bw-parents.html

  9. Aaron
    February 15, 2011 / 10:12 PM

    My first child fell into babywise like she was created for it.. now my second child is 3 months old and she has good days and bad.. I can not develop consistency with her. She keeps waking up at 6:30am no matter if I give her a late night feeding or she goes to bed at 7:30pm. She is napping well for me (most days) but she is trying to go 4 hours between most feedings.. Is it time to move her to 2 hour waketime instead of an hour and 1/2.. Im thinking maybe i need to rearrange her waketime to help her sleep longer in the am.. what do you think?

  10. Plowmanators
    March 1, 2011 / 10:19 PM

    She might do better with a four hour schedule. She doesn't necessarily need two hour waktime with that, though. She can take a 2.5 hour nap. She might need a slightly earlier bedtime if she is waking early.

  11. Drew
    September 21, 2011 / 3:48 AM

    Hmm, I am really confused about wake times and cycle length. My daughter is 15 weeks old and currently on a 3 hour feeding cycle. I feel that she starts winding down for bed between 45 minutes and 1 hour of awake time with yawns & sighs- she becomes more chatty during this time also. This makes her naps 2 hours which she can do for the first 2 naps of the day but after that it's like she's used her sleep quota (she sleeps around 11 hours over night) and the remainder of the day is 2 cat naps. I'm also confused because she doesnt seem overly hungry and yesterday I had to do 3.5Hr cycles due to an appointment and she did fine with this! So I wonder if I should be extending her cycles even though she isn't STTN yet (she used to go between 7-9 hours when we had the witching hour but since that ended it's 5-6 at the most). But I couldn't do that and have her up for 1 hour and sleeping 2.5!Really I just wonder am I getting the awake time wrong? sometimes I am just amazed that she can be tired when it feels that I just got her up. I also feel that if she could do 1.5 hour naps through the day (3 of them and no nap between her early-evening cluster feeds when we bathe her) that would be a bit more balanced. Sorry, there's a few questions there. I hope it all makes sense!

  12. Plowmanators
    October 4, 2011 / 5:26 AM

    Drew,You can do a 2.5 hour nap. McKenna did that for a while. I would do that, then for the last nap (third) do a "catnap."

  13. JessC
    March 17, 2012 / 11:04 PM

    I'm hoping I can get some insights regarding waketime for my 19 week old. He is still on a 3 hour feeding schedule, although some days he will go about 3 hours and 15 minutes. He has not started solids yet. He is exclusively breastfed. Right now his schedule looks like the following: 8:00 nurse8:45 nap (usually squirms for about 15 minutes, then sleeps for about an hour, then squirms/sleeps for the second hour)11:00 nurse12:15 nap (squirm 15, sleep an hour, squirm/sleep for the last 30 minutes)2:00 nurse3:00/3:15 nap (squirm 15, sleep a little over an hour, squirm/sleep for whatever is left)5:00 nurse6:00 nap in swing (awake for about 30-45 minutes, sleep for about 30 minutes)7:30 nurse then bedI'm wondering if I need to be giving him more waketime because he doesn't go right to sleep, or less waketime because he is waking early? When I say he's squirming/sleeping, I'm not even sure he's completely awake, but it doesn't seem like it's restful sleep, either. He has also been REALLY distracted while nursing and has been super hungry at night when we put him to bed. For example, he began STTN at 10 weeks, and for the last 3 nights has been up 2-3 times between when he gets to bed (8 PM) to around 11-midnight to eat some more. Is this a result of his naps being weird, or is it that he's not getting enough food during the day? Thanks!

  14. Plowmanators
    April 20, 2012 / 3:23 AM

    JessC, If the baby plays a lot in bed before falling asleep, it is usuallsy a sign of too short of waketime length or not enough stimulation during waketime.You were also at the 19 week wonder week, which is a bad one and can attribute to the behavior also.

  15. lucy
    May 9, 2012 / 3:35 PM

    Hi I'm just now trying to start consistency with the babywise thing. Before we were on a 5 feedings a day(I had help feeding). The times were 5, 9, 1, 5 and 9 bedtime. Now since I'm starting late on BW I am putting an extra feeding so its now 5, 8, 11, 2, 5, and 8ish. But they are taking in less with this schedule. And after about 30mins of wake time they start to get tired. I'm confused on how to get this going, my hubby has to wake up at 540 to get ready for work so I'd like to take into consideration that so he can sleep. But I don't know if I should completely switch the schedule we were on for a few months and put them to bed earlier in the evening? I guess I'm just kind of at a loss. My twins are 16wks(10wks adjusted). And any help as to if I should be treating sleep at their adjusted age or actual age. Thanks so much sorry for how convoluted this was.

    • Plowmanators
      May 24, 2012 / 3:24 AM

      Lucy, treat sleep with adjusted age, not actual age.I am confused on exactly what you are asking besides that. If I were you, I would have your first feeding of the day around 7 AM instead of 5 AM if that is possible for you–I don't know what you need so far as your husband being around for that feeding. I would then do 7, 10, 1, 4, 7 and then a dreamfeed at around 10 PM. This is the same number of feedings, but more in sync with what you might want them to do in the future.

  16. Anonymous
    November 5, 2012 / 7:49 AM

    My Son is going to be 4 months old.He is used to day time naps in the manual swing with a pacifier and night time in the crib after ssh patting with the pacifier and swaddle.He can only stay awake for only 60 mins after he has woken up and will cry and cry and take a good 15-20 mins and lot of swinging and pacifier to settle down. After all the hardwork , he wakes up in 40-45 mins.I am not sure how to break the swing routine ( we started when he had severe colic). Also , should I continue to put efforts to get him to nap or let him play and get tired again? I am sure he is not hungry as I have tried giving him milk when he is up after the 45 mins.Please help

  17. tara stephenson
    July 30, 2014 / 8:42 AM

    My son sleeps on a schedule 2/3hours hes always in bed.by 9pm. And then usually up at12/3/6/9… I am just readit this.book now and he is 8weeks old. Im going to follow the am schedule tomorrow aka eat.play sleep but whats the solution to sleeping should I let him cry as I cut.down a feeding what advise do you have for me starting this routine at 8weeks. Thank.u!! Cant wait to read this whole book just got it.tonight

    • Valerie Plowman
      August 11, 2014 / 7:19 PM

      Hi Tara–I have a getting started late guide. If you go to the web page (not mobile version of the page) and look at the left side of the page, you will see a link to my getting started late guide. Top left paragraph. That should answer your questions 🙂

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